CBR - Be Prepared

Chemical Biological Radiation Threats - Be Prepared by Gila Davidson

In today’s society we find ourselves facing a new era, where an act of terrorism can be both a conventional and non-conventional threat (CBR). In the case of a non-conventional attack when the air is contaminated with a chemical or biological cloud it can occur in 3 situations, solid, liquid or aerosol. An escape to a safety zone is definitely the best solution. However, some of the chembio threats do not have colour or odour but that excludes the master gases, which has an odour of garlic or fish, cyanide, which has an odour of bitter almonds and safigon, which has an odour of fresh hay.

We can be exposed in numerous ways i.e. by breathing, by the digestive system, contact with the eyes, contact with the skin or contact with an open cut. The best solution in the case of an non-conventional threat is to use a gas mask and stay in a sealed room. A proper gas mask with a visor will protect you from toxic air even though the gas mask is not comfortable to wear as it puts pressure on your face and neck, this is the only true way for survival. For babies, toddlers and elderly people there are available comfortable smokehoods with an air blower to assist them to breathe easily.THE MASK AND A SEALED ROOM ARE VITAL FOR SURVIVAL if you cannot escape immediately before a non-conventional attack occurs from the contaminated zone.


We would suggest in case of emergency to prepare in advance a sealed room. You must protect windows by covering them with polyethylene sheets. These polyethylene sheets must be sealed tightly around the entire window frame directly onto the wall. Use masking tape in 5cm width made from maypoliperoplene. Suggestions for one sealed room is 40m of polypropyleme, 5cm wide and you will need 8m square polyethylene sheets. You must seal any air conditioning units as you would seal the windows. Also seal the key opening in the door and cover the bottom of the door with a wet towel. Do not heat the room or smoke.?You and your family should sit opposite the window on a mattress on the floor. For a family with 4 people we suggest you have at least 50 litres of water per 3 days trapped. Some items to back include food, a radio, mobile phone, batteries, torch, books, toys (to occupy the children) and a sanitary camping toilet.


In a sealed room you do not need to wear protective clothing. Only the gas mask is required if an non-conventional threat occurs. For a person who is in an unprotected area, a gas mask on its own is not sufficient. You must use a CBR protective suit, rubber gloves and rubber boots. The gloves and boots must be sealed to the suit for full protection. The suit must have a hood to protect your head and neck and the gas mask must cover your face fully and all hair to be tucked inside. People with beards must use a proper smokehood.

For people without a gas mask or suit the next best thing is to be prepared by protecting yourself as follows:

  • For the head use a large wet bath towel folded into thirds, ensuring that you cover the entire face including the nose and mouth, leaving space to breathe.
  • Leave only a small space for vision and protect your eyes by using either swimming or ski goggles. Eye glasses are be suitable.
  • Protect your body by wearing at least a coat and a raincoat. Ideally it would be advisable to put a layer of crushed charcoal inside the raincoat by using spray-on glue. The coats must be full length.
  • Rubber boots and rubber gloves must be worn and be sure to seal the gap between the gloves and the coat and also seal the gap between the boots and the pants.
  • All your body must be totally covered to eliminate the threat of contamination.

In our next news we will talk about the common non-conventional chemical and biological threats and the symptoms and antidotes.

This article is for general information purposes only.?Safety and Defence Solutions can supply further information regarding customer's specific requirements upon request.?As the information is for general information purposes only and not specific to individual cases, Safety and Defence Solutions is unable to accept responsibility for any of the information contained within.

Gila Davidson